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Mustapha Hamid is an Albino; but we see ability, not disability – Otiko Djaba

Even before the backlash she’s receiving for suggesting that wearing of miniskirts could attract rapists hence the need for girls to dress decently could subside, the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Otiko Afisa-Djaba, is in the news again for stating that, although Albinos are considered as disabled persons in some countries, Ghana recognizes people’s abilities, hence the appointment of Mustapha Hamid as Minister, although he is an “Albino.”

The Minister made the comment in an interview with Accra-based Starr FM, while she was discussing the subject of disability and the need for persons with disability to be recognized in society and given roles in government.

“You have persons with disability; somebody just takes a picture without asking their permission, some think that every disabled person should be a beggar. I have met disabled people in the University. In the previous administration, there was a disabled person as a Minister for chieftaincy. Our Regional Minister currently in the Central Region, Hon. Duncan, is also a person with disability. In some places, persons with albinism are not supposed to even operate, but our Minister for Information Mr. Mustapha Hamid is an albino. I met the Minister for Gender of Liberia and she is an albino; and so it means that we shouldn’t look at the disabilities of people, but their abilities, potential and usefulness.”

In Ghana, physically challenged persons are in many ways not recognised or given the needed assistance by government, and also by the larger society. Otiko Afisa-Djaba’s Ministry is thus expected to initiate policies and programmes that will make life better for such persons in society.

But her comment about albinos with particular reference to Mustapha Hamid may attract some reactions, considering that not every albino has disabilities.

An albino is a person with pale skin, white hair, pinkish eyes, and visual abnormalities resulting from a hereditary inability to produce the pigment melanin.

Persons with albinism are usually as healthy as the rest of the population, with growth and development occurring as normal, but some can be classified as disabled because of the associated visual impairments.

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